National Centre for Early Music

[Skip navigation]
Navigation Menu

Rules of Engagement

National Centre for Early Music, York
9, 10 & 11 July 2015


York Early Music Festival invites applications from ensembles to take part in the York Early Music International Young Artists Competition. The Competition will take place at the National Centre for Early Music from 9 to 11 July 2015, as part of the 2015 York Early Music Festival. 

The Competition is supported by the National Centre for Early Music, BBC Radio 3 and Arts Council England, Yorkshire.

First Prize:
  • £1,000
  • a concert as part of the 2016 York Early Music Festival
  • a CD recording professionally produced by Linn Records
  • the winning ensemble will be recorded and featured on BBC Radio 3's The Early Music Show
YEMF Friends Prize
A cash prize awarded by the Friends of the York Early Music Festival to their chosen ensemble

Special prizes:

Cambridge Early Music Prize
A paid concert in Cambridge to take place within three years of the competition date, awarded by a member/s of CEM's Board of Trustees to their chosen ensemble.  The concert will be subject to the availability of the artists on the dates offered, and subject to negotiation of fees.  If any member of the winning ensemble has attended one of CEM's summer schools as a full-time participant, a further award of £500 will be made to the chosen ensemble.

Eeemerging Project Prize
A place on the first year of the eeemerging programme, awarded by a panel of the project co-organisers to their chosen ensemble. Click here for details. To be eligible for the prize, your ensemble must have been established for no longer than three years; that is, its first performance must have taken place since 11 July 2012.

EUBO Development Trust Prize for the most promising young artist/s
£1,000 to be awarded by the jury either to the most promising individual instrumentalist or to the most promising ensemble.  To be eligible for the prize, an individual must be both an EU national and an orchestral instrumentalist; an ensemble must consist of at least 50% EU nationals and 50% instrumentalists.  

Please note that a condition of acceptance of any of these prizes is that the winners include mention of the Competition and the relevant prize in their biographies and website for a minimum period of 5 years from the date of the Competition. 

The Final of the Competition will be judged by an international panel of performers and promoters.  This panel (as well as the audience) regularly includes representatives of the broadcasting, recording, festival and music promotion worlds who see the Competition as a prime opportunity to identify and select new and promising young talent. The Competition can thus be a key stage on the way to national and international recognition for young performers.  

  • Ensembles (instrumental and/or vocal, in any combination) must have a minimum of two members.  Soloists are not eligible.  
  • There is no restriction to the maximum number in the ensemble but competitors should be aware that future professional viability may be limited for larger groups. 
  • All members must be adults, with the average age of the ensemble being 32 or under on 11 July 2015
  • Competitors must perform repertory from the period ranging from the middle ages to the nineteenth century using appropriate historically informed playing techniques, instruments and stylistic conventions
  • Applications are welcomed from ensembles of all nationalities
  • There is no restriction to the number of ensembles in which any individual can take part 

Entries must be received no later than Friday 23 January 2015.  Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.

Applications must include the following:
  • application form  
  • An unedited CD on which should be given the date and place of recording and contents.  The recording must feature only the people who will take part in the Competition.  All individual members of the ensemble must be included, though not necessarily on every track. The timing and content of the CD is up to each ensemble but should demonstrate the group's diversity and range of repertoire.  It may include music related to the proposed Competition programme, but this is not obligatory.  Please note that the CD must be posted in good time to ensure delivery at the NCEM no later than Friday 23 January 2015.  MP3 files will not be accepted.
  • programme details for both the preliminary and final recitals.  They must include the title of each recital; full names of composers with dates; full titles of pieces; titles of movements; full names of musicians and instruments.  Care should be taken to ensure that these details are accurate, as they will be printed in the festival brochure if your application is successful. Translations and programme notes are not required at this stage.
  • biography of the ensemble (ie not individuals), maximum 200 words.
  • letter of recommendation from a prominent personality in musical life (such as a teacher or professional musician).
  • two recent photographs of the ensemble (not individuals) in high-resolution jpg.  
  • proof of age of each member of the ensemble (such as a copy of birth certificate, passport or similar official document)
  • Fee. A non-refundable fee of £100 per ensemble is charged to enter the Competition.  Fees must be paid by PayPal via the NCEM website.  Please note that for applications to be valid, payment must be received before the closing date, Friday 23 January 2015  

Applications should be returned by email if possible, with scanned attachments, apart from the CD which must be sent by post (or delivered by hand) in time to arrive at the NCEM no later than Friday 23 January 2015.

Applications should be sent to:  The Music Administrator, National Centre for Early Music, St Margaret's Church, Walmgate, York YO1 9TL  Tel:+44 [0]1904 632220, email    


Initial selection process
Finalists will be selected on the basis of their CD.  No-one will be expected to come to York at this stage. 

The initial selection panel will comprise the Artistic Advisers of the York Early Music Festival: John Bryan, Kati Debretzeni, Lindsay Kemp and Peter Seymour, and the Director of the National Centre for Early Music, Delma Tomlin.

Successful entrants will be notified of their selection as finalists by Wednesday 4 February 2015.  

Unsuccessful entrants will receive a short paragraph of feedback written by a member of the selection panel.

Finalists will be invited to come to York from 8 to 11 July 2015.  Rehearsal space at the NCEM will be available from Wednesday 8 July and rehearsal times will be allocated equally to each ensemble.  Finalists will perform twice as part of York Early Music Festival.  All performances will be open to the public and will take place at the National Centre for Early Music.

Preliminary recitals - Thursday 9 and Friday 10 July 2015
  • Finalists will present an informal 20-minute recital in front of a public audience with no judges present. 
  • These recitals will be introduced to the audience by soprano and broadcaster Catherine Bott, who will invite the musicians to explore aspects of their performance with the aim of increasing their confidence and performance skills.  
Final - Saturday 11 July 2015
  • The Competition Final will take place throughout the day 
  • Each ensemble will present a 20-minute programme (this is playing time and does not include tuning or preparation) in front of the panel of judges and a public audience. 
  • The programme for the Final must be different from that presented in the preliminary recital.
  • The results will be announced and prizes awarded after the final concert.  
  • All competitors will be required to stay for photographs after the prize-giving
Representatives of international early music festivals, networks and radio stations are invited to attend the Competition Final on Saturday 11 July.  

Please note that it is expected that all individuals will be in York from Wednesday 8 July until approximately 7pm on Saturday 11 July 2015. 


Competitors will be assessed on the following:
  • choice of repertory - and a sustainable interesting repertory for future performances
  • application of appropriate historical style of  performance
  • musicianship 
  • interpretation
  • creativity of programme planning
  • technical ability
  • presentation - stage presence, rapport with audience, professionalism 
  • quality of programme notes
  • overall contribution to the early music scene
  • eventual professional viability
  • professionalism of dealings with the Festival office


Keyboard instruments
The following keyboard instruments, provided by Andrew Wooderson and the NCEM, will be available for use by the competitors:
Large single manual harpsichord (Italian)
Tuned at A 415 Valotti
Small single manual harpsichord (Italian)
Tuned at A 440 in 1/4 comma meantone     
Double manual harpsichord (Flemish)
Tuned at A 415 Valotti
Chamber organ
Tuned at A 415, A 440 or A460 equal temperament
Fortepiano (Viennese)
Tuned at A 430

Competitors are reminded that the amount of space and retuning time will be limited. Competitors are advised to select only one keyboard instrument for their final programme. 

Finalists will be provided with accommodation in York free of charge for
  • 4 nights (Wednesday 8 July to the morning of Sunday 12 July) for those from the UK
  • 5 nights (Tuesday 7 July to the morning of Sunday 12 July) for those from mainland Europe 
  • 6 nights (Monday 6 July to the morning of Sunday 12 July) for long-haul competitors.

  • The NCEM will pay for return economy travel tickets in the UK up to a maximum of £60 per person.  
  • Each ensemble is responsible for booking their own travel.  
  • Competitors are advised to book UK rail tickets 12 weeks in advance for the cheapest tickets.  They can be bought online at .  There is an option to collect tickets at the station of departure.  Please note that you must have with you the credit card that the tickets were booked with.
  • These travel expenses will be reimbursed while you are in York.  Please remember to bring your receipts.

Programme details
Full final programme details for the Festival programme book for both preliminary and final recitals must be supplied by Friday 17 April 2015.  
They should include 
  • programme notes about the music and concept of the programme (approximately 250 words for each recital) 
  • name of author of the programme notes
  • translations of texts if applicable

Recording and distribution
  • The organisers reserve the right to record or arrange for the recording of any concert in the Competition, including the Final, and to organise broadcasts and/or distribution without recompense to the competitors

Other regulations 
  • There is no appeal against the decisions of the jury 
  • Participants will compete in the order given
  • Each competitor will receive a Festival programme book and a free ticket to one of the evening concerts in the York Early Music Festival
  • All participants must be fully acquainted with the regulations and schedules 

Updated information about the York Early Music International Young Artists Competition 2015 is available at    

Janet Cromartie, Music Administrator 
York Early Music International Young Artists Competition
National Centre for Early Music
St. Margaret's Church
York YO1 9TL

Tel: +44 (0)1904 632220 (Wednesdays to Fridays)
E Mail:  


Download Rules of Engagement below
IYAC Rules of Engagement 2015.pdf